Imphal: A Colonel-rank Defence PRO in Manipur and five others arrested for allegedly transporting illicit drugs estimated at over Rs 24 crore for smuggling to Myanmar were on Monday remanded to police custody till March 8. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thoubal, passed the order for police custody of the six, including Manipur Defence PRO Ajay Chaudhury arrested Sunday in Chandel district, following an application by investigating officer A Ghanashyam Sharma.
Cases have been filed against the six under sections 21 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act following the seizure at Pallel in Chandel district when they were headed in a convoy for the border town of Moreh. The police said that the six were to be produced before the court at 1:00 pm, but it was delayed because of a medical checkup at the Kakching police station.
Colonel Ajay Chaudhury was arrested along with his assistant RK Babalu, IndiGo assistant manager Ngairangbam Brojendro Singh, besides three others, Haopu Haokip, Minthang Bongel and Milan Haokip. Among the last three, one is related to a senior state government official and another to a former minister who is now an MLA, but the police refused to identify them.
Police said the illicit drugs seized would have fetched over Rs 24 crore. On Sunday, Chaudhury had claimed that he was unaware that the consignment contained illicit drugs and that he was allegedly cheated by the nephew of a very senior officer into accompanying him, but had not identified to whom he was referring to among those arrested.
"Since, he is a friend and he is a relative of someone senior, you will never suspect him of doing anything like this.... Somehow I have been cheated in this," he had said. The seized drugs, also called party drugs, included pseudoephedrine tablets Respifed, Omkop, Hilcold, Polyfed and Actidin.